Speaking Truth With Love

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We Are Good Because of His Grace ...

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on March 14, 2012 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. Romans 12:3 (The Message Bible)

 

There are times in my life when I feel completely defeated ... I'm sure we can all relate to that feeling. Whether we're praying for an answer and the answer never comes ... or when we're going through a rough season in life and every door seems to close in our face ... or when a loved one is hurting and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it ...

 

I begin to take my eyes off of God and put them on me ... The "if only's" begin ... If only I gave more of my money to further God's Kingdom, if I prayed more, if I volunteered more, if I was a better mother/wife/friend ... if I sinned less ... if ... if ... if ... If only - then I'd be good ... good enough and God would hear me ... If only - then I could offer God something ... He'd love me more ... He'd bless me more ... He'd rescue my loved one from sickness, depression, addiction, financial burdens, life's trials ...

 

As I go with God, I grow with God. His Word brings healing and hope and truth. It's reminds me to take my eyes off "me" and put them back where they belong, on Him. Romans 12:3 makes it very clear - we do not bring anything to God - what's good in us is only because He makes us good. We live in His PURE grace. Regardless if we could give every inch of our time/money/resources - we can never be good enough. You can't "work" your way good - His grace and only His grace makes us good. If it was any other way we wouldn't need Him ... We'd be boastful, self-reliant, arrogant -

Ephesians 2:8-10 brings it all home - For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  

Friend, if you find yourself feeling like this today - spend some time with God - in His Word, in prayer - don't wear yourself weary trying to work your way good - We don't reach up to Him, we reach out and He reaches down to us. Friend, He loves you.

Abba Father, please forgive me for my selfish attitude, when I put my eyes on me instead of You. When I try to do this life by relying on my strength instead of Your's. Thank you for Your pure grace ... Thank you for saving me. I love you. In Jesus' name. Amen.  

Does God Think Less of Me? ...

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on March 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I was asked a question yesterday ... one that cut me to the core. one that stopped me in my tracks. one that came from an honest heart - "Do you think God looks down on me for making this decision?"

I lost my voice - tears filled my eyes - The pain, the sincere pain this person felt - made him feel like even God has turned his back on him. "If everyone is treating me like this" ... he stopped - "Sis, be honest with me, does God really look down on me for doing this?" I wanted to scream - MY GOODNESS NO, but I couldn't - I was speechless! I caught my breath - inhaled and said, "no ...  no ... no He doesn't. God doesn't think any less of you for doing this. You've been so courageous. You made such a selfless decision. You made a decision that you knew would hurt you for days ... months ... years to come."

 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34 (NLT)

At that moment - I realized why Jesus reiterated that we need to love each other ... Just as He's loved us. It's important - especially as Christians. We are Jesus' hands and feet. Why would they want to love our God when we act foolish ... when we pass our judgmental glances ... when we feel the need to share our 2 cents about something we know nothing about ...

Maybe you're in a situation where you feel like this ...

Friend I tell you today - God's not mad at you. He loves you. He's longing for the day you turn to him! He doesn't love you any less on your worst day than He does on your best day. His love is not earned - He gives it freely ... He gives it in abundance ... There is nothing you can do to lose His love. Run to Him ...

 

I love the lyrics to Dara Maclean's song "Free", Hurting heart and broken wings cannot stop Your love from always finding me No more days wasting away I finally realize the gift inside of me My strength alone will never be enough But Your arms keep lifting me up You tell me I've been made free You give me everything I need to walk in my dreams You whisper words that free my soul You're the reason I have hope You're everything I need and more You made me free I was caged in, then You opened Every door that held me bound and You gave me the key No more pressure I can just breathe The person I have tried so hard to be, has always been me ...

 

Heavenly Father, I come confessing there are times when I give my opinion instead of Your truth. Please forgive me. Father the last thing I want to do it turn people away from You. I lift those who are hurting up to You. Those who feel like you've turned your back on them - Father please wrap them in Your arms. Assure them You're right there. Help me to be your hands and feet. Help me to think before I speak. To use my time here on Earth to share You with others. I love you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

When we don't understand ...

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on March 12, 2012 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (1)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (ESV)

It's been a tough weekend for my family - One that makes you wish you could fast forward the clock 10 years from now just so you can make sense of all of this ... 

Sometimes the phone calls have to go unanswered, the text messages are left in the inbox without responding, the facebook comments ignored because it's hard ... hard to answer the millions of questions that are coming at you when you don't even fully understand yourself - That's how my brother feels - He knows in his heart his decision is right -  He's prayed about this decision for quite some time. He is making the most selfless act that one can make. I'm not even sure I could do it ... All I can think about as I've sat and watched him and my mother cry for the past two days is ... How God must have felt when He gave Jesus. God oh God - the pain, the anguish, the tears ... I'll never forget this weekend -

I've cried out to God time and time again (and I continue to) please Father - bring comfort - help us to understand the best we can this side of heaven - Wrap your loving arms around my brothers, my mother, my sweet sister-in-law, my grandparents, my nieces and nephews, my cousins, my children, all of us - We need You, God ...

God gently brings me back to Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:7 - God's Word tells each of us - to TRUST in HIM with ALL OF OUR HEART and LEAN NOT on our own understanding but in ALL our ways acknowledge Him - HE will make our paths straight - the PEACE of GOD WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING, WILL guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. This side of heaven we will never understand why things happen the way they do. We can't fast forward the clock - and if we could we'd probably miss the most beautiful sunshine after the rain passes, but we can Trust God - we can rest in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. We can call out to Him for help and He will comfort us!

Father God, we don't understand your plan, but we can rest assured that it is a beautiful one. You are the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Father we need you. My family needs you. My brother needs you. Father comfort his broken heart. Father wrap your loving arms around him. Father, bring him peace - Your peace. A peace that surpasses all human understanding. We love you and we praise you - even in the storm. Father God you are worthy - and worthy to be praised! In Jesus' name, amen.

Material for Meaningful

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on December 6, 2011 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29“

This time of year isn't always pleasant or excitingly awaited for by everyone. Some folks dread this time of year - they wish they could hibernate from Black Friday to the New Year. The busyness of all the shopping centers, the money being spent that most don't have - The I WANT! I WANT! I WANT! orders everyone is shouting. But for me, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love Christmas - I have no elaborate wish list. I'm not a maniac shopper. 

Several years ago I made the decision to trade a material Christmas for a meaningful Christmas. Each year I purpose in my heart (well before Christmas) to use this time to share the Love of Christ with others. This may sound cliche' to some, but it's how I truly feel - Jesus was then and is today, my gift. There is no material possession that can fill my heart with the overflowing contentment only He gives me. Don't get me wrong, I love to buy for others, but before the gift is bought, I pray. I want to be in God's Will - even when purchasing gifts. I check my motives - I don't purchase gifts to out-do or impress others. Also, I don't fill-up our schedule for the month of December. We may miss a party or two. We may not be able to see every family member in this couple week stretch. What we will have is peace and time to reflect on Jesus and the needs of others.

So I challenge you this year, right here, right now to trade a material Christmas for a meaningful Christmas. The joy of the season will truly shine through. Take some time to reflect on the verse for today. Put away all the things the world tells you Christmas is and get back to the true meaning of Christmas - It's more than a season! It's so much more than a holiday! We have a Reason to Celebrate - Jesus!

Heavenly Father, Thank you for Jesus! Father, I pray for that person who is stressed to the max because of the busyness of this time of year. I pray that they would come to You - lay down those heavy burdens and take up Your yoke. Father, help each of us to purpose in our hearts to put away what the world tell us Christmas ought to be and get back to the true reason we celebrate Christmas Day! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Stinky Attitude

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on May 3, 2011 at 9:13 AM Comments comments (1)

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds." (Ephesians 4:22 NIV)

Have you ever struggled with a bad attitude? Lately I've had a real issue with my attitude. For some reason everything seems to effect it. And sadly, my attitude has been in total opposition with the way it should be, according to God's word.

I am a total clean freak. I can't stand anything to be out of order. I like the beds made upon awakening, and made a certain way. I like my towels folded a certain way. I can't stand dirty dishes or my ice box to be cluttered. I can't stand to walk through my house and get dust on my feet. I don't know why I'm this way, but I know, even though they have not said anything yet, my husband and kids think I'm crazy. My desire to be Mrs. Squeaky Clean has to drive them crazy. Lately God has been dealing with me on this issue. I allow misplaced items in my home to determine my entire attitude. It causes friction and undue stress on all of us.

The problems is with me, not the dishes, beds, laundry, handprints on the windows, or the dusty footprints on the floor. I am allowing these things to control my every emotion and until all is in proper order my family isn't allowed to function like a normally functioning family. So today I'm working toward riding myself of my stinky attitude and I plan to look for the positives in what is usually a negative situation.

How To Develop Good Attitudes

1. Identify and Repent of Bad Attitudes Acts 8:22 "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you."

 

2. Submit Your Attitudes to God Bring your attitudes into obedience to God’s Word. Apply discipline to your thought life — submit your thoughts to those of Christ’s. A good attitude is a matter of faith, disregarding your feelings, with a determination to embrace God’s outlook and disposition. 2 Corinthians 10:5 "casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ..."

 

3. Equip And Feed Your Attitudes Dwell on the things that God’s word tells us to — those good and virtuous things. If you dwell on the negative, your attitude will reflect the same. Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things."

 

Heavenly Father, thank you for convicting me. I'm sorry for my stinky attitude. I come before you today asking for forgiveness. Help me to be self-controlled and not allow the meaningless things to ruin my attitude and the way I treat the ones I love. I love you. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Hidden in plain view

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on May 3, 2011 at 8:39 AM Comments comments (0)

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

Have you ever lost something that was right in front of you? In all true reality it isn't lost just hidden in plain view. I have this problem most often with my keys or cell phone. I look frantically everywhere for them then all of a sudden they jump out at me. I've probably looked at the item 100 times, yet it lay there unnoticed.

Sometimes I feel that's how we are as Christians. God calls us to stand out, to be the salt and light of the world. Yet so many times it's hard to pick us out of the crowd. Christians are not called to mesh or blend-in. We should be able to be noticed. People should be able to look at us and see that we are different. Now I’m not talking about an arrogant difference or better than thou, rather the way we act, react and treat others should stick out like a sore thumb. We should clothe ourselves with gentleness, kindness, love, and show respect for others. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. Our main mission each day is reaching others for the Kingdom of God.

I will admit there are times I am that Christian. Not necessarily because I’m doing the things the world is doing, but if I remain silent I’m not doing any good, either. I don’t want to be that way. I want Jesus’ light to shine through me. People are looking for love. People are longing for forgiveness. People need Jesus!

I want to be Jesus’ hands and feet. Loving, touching, teaching, guiding, and sharing the grand hope only He offers.

Holy Father, Help me to be a light in this dark world. Please forgive me for the times I just blend in with my surroundings. Help me to always stand out for you. I love you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Get Back Up

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on April 19, 2011 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you ever feel defeated in your efforts? Maybe you feel like with one step forward you are swept three feet back. I can relate to those feelings. When we make the choice to give our life completely to Christ and live our life with Him first and center the enemy will throw at us, every arrow within his possession. When we dig in our heels and get real about this Faith we have in Jesus you can bet on it, the enemy steps up his game, but listen friend and I'm preaching to myself as well, our victory is already won! We have VICTORY because Jesus won the victory on the Cross! When the waters come raging against us, strong and viciously - leaving us feeling like a pine tree after a category 5 hurricane, we still have victory. Don't allow the enemy to convince you he's won - he hasn't and he never will!!! You get back up!

 

 

Lately I've felt defeated and I know the enemy is trying to deter and confuse me and I will be honest, I have not been praying like I should be. I wish I could say I've just been so busy working for Christ, but that would be a lie. I've allowed the enemy to turn my focus on my problem - making the problem my god instead of turning my eyes to the Holy One who WON the battle 2000 plus years ago on the cross at Calvary. I've been spending more time dwelling on this problem than I have been feeding myself with God's Holy Word. I am in need of a Spiritual baptism. Just like I wrote about yesterday. I need to wallow in God's Word. This is a battle I need to be fighting on my knees and friend, I will be honest, every battle we fight needs to be on our knees. We were never meant to face a battle alone, as a matter of fact, when we are a child of God, He will fight it for us, but He won't force the reins from us. We have to Trust Him and hand the battle over.

 

1 John 4:4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. (NLT) 

Jesus paid the complete price for our freedom and for our victory. Throughout our life Satan will be fighting tooth and nail to prevent us from taking possession of our spiritual inheritance. Don't worry; you win. This is a lifelong battle but don't be discouraged by that; be excited and be prepared.

 

Holy Father, Today I come empty. I come tired. I feel like road kill that the dog has drug up. Father, please forgive me for spending so much time focusing on my problem, to the point I've made it my god. Forgive me for acting like I, on my own, have the power to stand again satan; today I hand it over to You, the Holy One. You've already won the victory and because I'm Your child I am able to share in the victory. Lord, please wrap me in your loving, all-powerful arms. I long to be held by You. I love you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

I want to share these lyrics from TobyMac's "Get Back Up"

You turned away when I looked you in the eye, And hesitated when I asked if you were alright, Seems like you're fighting for your life, But why? oh why?

 

Wide awake in the middle of your nightmare, You saw it comin' but it hit you outta no where, And there's always scars when you fall that far

 

We lose our way, We get back up again It's never too late to get back up again, One day you gonna shine again, You may be knocked down, But not out forever.

 

You rolled out at the dawning of the day heart racin' as you made you little get away, It feels like you've been runnin' all your life But, why? Oh why? So you've pulled away from the love that wou'd've been there, You start believin' that your situation's unfair But there's always scars, when you fall that far

 

We lose our way, We get back up again Never too late to get back up again, One day, you gonna shine again, You may be knocked down but not out forever,

 

This is love callin', love callin', out to the broken, This is love callin'. I am so broken. This is love callin' love callin. Lose our way, We get back up, It's never too late You may be knocked down but not out forever!

Washed by The Word

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on April 18, 2011 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. Ephesians 5:26 (NLT)

Yesterday’s morning service began with the baptism of a five year old little girl. I love witnessing someone being baptized. Though there is nothing magical about the water in which a person is submersed into, it's truly an outward sign of what has taken place on the inside. It always takes me back to my baptism. They joy and excitement that filled my heart as I made an outward profession of the personal decision I made to follow Jesus; it’s by the Grace offered by God, through Faith in Jesus Christ we are Saved; Not by being washed in the water, but being washed by the Word.

Sometimes in my everyday life I forget the excitement that I felt on the day I realized I needed Jesus. Not just because I didn’t want to go to hell, but because of what He’s done for me. Because on that day I realized how much God loves me. He is crazy about me and you. There is nothing that we have done or can do that is too large for Him to forgive us. The blood that was shed on the Cross at Calvary covers every sin; not just some, not just the ones we choose – ALL. It was shed – not just for some people, not just for good people, not just for bad people – for ALL people.

I challenge you to let God’s Word wash you today, much like being submersed in the water during a baptism, dig deep and wallow in God’s Word. Allow it to fully encompass you and renew your spirit.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Word. Thank you for the saving grace You extend to me. Thank you that I can come to the foot of the cross just as I am, You see into the depths of my heart yet You love me the same. As I study Your Word today, please help me to remove all distractions that capture my attention so that I can be fully encompassed, refreshed, cleansed, and renewed by Your Holy Word. I love you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

God's Purpose for Marriage

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on April 12, 2011 at 4:32 PM Comments comments (0)

"Marriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher dignity and power, for it is God's holy institution through which God wishes to preserve humanity until the end of time. In your love you see only each other in the world; in marriage you are a link in the chain of generations that God, for the sake of His glory, allows to rise and fade away, and calls into His kingdom". Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Hello Friends.

A couple of months ago Chad and I were able to attend “The Art of Marriage” Conference. This conference is presented by FamilyLife, who also holds the “Weekend to Remember” Conference. I’d like to start off by saying, if this conference is held in your area, please make time to attend. You will not regret it, regardless of how great your marriage is, or if you feel there is no hope left. You will benefit from it.

 

“The first bond of society is marriage”. ~ Cicero

 

I will be honest; when I first married Chad I had no clue of the real importance of this relationship in God’s eyes. I wasn’t even completely clear on God’s purpose for marriage.

 

I will be the first to say marriage is difficult. If you don't believe me just look at the divorce rate. It's heart-breaking, but that shouldn’t discourage us rather encourage us to find what it takes to make it work. God didn’t design marriage so it can be freely thrown to the way-side. It was purposed to last a lifetime. We must realize we can’t make it last on our own; we must FULLY rely on God for power, strength, and wisdom that will allow us run this race with endurance.

 

Genesis 2:18-24 (NKJV) And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

The ultimate purpose of marriage is to REFLECT GOD’S IMAGE.

Marriage is a permanent promise, not a contract that is free to be broken.

Maybe you've heard someone say this, “We tried it and realized we're not “the one” for each other”? “The One”, in that sense, is not a biblical. The one you married is the one with whom you are to make a life.

Marriage is not about “I” or “Me” rather it’s about “We”

It’s just as, if not more, important to become the right person as find the right person.

 

Dave Boehi said this, “The person you love the most is also the person who can hurt you the deepest. That’s the risk and pain of marriage. And the beauty of marriage is working through you hurt and pain and resolving you conflicts and solving problems. “

 

Difficulties and hardship whether from personalities or problems can direct us to think we married the wrong person. Maybe today you’re thinking that, if so I’d like you to read what Zig Ziglar said; I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make marriage happy and successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you married the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right KIND of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.”

 

Friend, I don’t know where your marriage stands today, but regardless if you are on top of the mountain basking in the sunshine or sitting in the bottom of the valley hopeless, God is with you. Your marriage is purposed to last a lifetime. Ground yourself in God's Word - The Truth. Don't give up.

 

Holy Father, I come before you today asking for forgiveness for the times I take so lightly the promise I made to my husband before You. Please help me to become the wife that You created me to be and help me to remember that marriage isn’t about me, rather we; my husband and I. Thank you for Your Word that I have to use as my guide. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

B.F.F.L.

Posted by Shannon Biggs-Ross on April 8, 2011 at 11:18 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello Friends.

My oldest daughter is a pre-teen or a tween, as some call it. Though, this age at times can be challenging, she is lots of fun. Sometimes the silliness overwhelms me, but in all true honesty I'm really going to miss her silly talks as she grows up. If you were to dig through her binder or book bag the first thing you will notice is BFFL or BFF is written everywhere ... and I mean everywhere. Sometimes when she comes home from school the names of her BFFL can be found written on her hand. She treasures her friendships. She looks forward to spending time with these girls. She can be herself. They laugh together, share silly secrets, and sometimes they do disagree, but even at 11 I have witnessed them positively encouraging one another.

Watching her engage in these friendships sparked me to think about how important friends are. There are many times in my life when I could not have made it without my friends.

My most important friendship is the one I share with Jesus, next would be the friendship I share with my husband. God has truly blessed me with some very dear girlfriends whom I can confide in, go to for counsel, share my fears, disappointments and dreams with. They boost me up - they encourage me in my walk with Christ and others. I can be myself. They don't judge me and they are very honest with me, even if it's not something I want to hear or face. I love these ladies. I look forward to spending time with them. They are truly by BFFL, my best friends for life - because they have impacted my life, they share their time with me, they allowed me to come regardless the hour or occasion. The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 (NLT)

Friendships are important because: God created us as relational beings; He created us to share a friendship with Him. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (KJV)

Friendships are important because: They help us to share life's load. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:9

Friendships are wonderful and biblical. Our most important friendship is the one we share with Jesus. I pray each one of you has a friendship with Jesus. I also pray each of you have an earthly friend. A friend who is honest. A friends who's heart is on God. A friend to encourage you in the right direction. A friend to share with you in times of sorrow, disappointments, and success.

Holy Father, Thank you for calling me friend. Thank you for the sweet friendships you've blessed me with. Please help me to always keep my friendships in line with Your Word. I pray for those who have never experienced the warmth of a true friend. I pray that if they do not already know, they will come to know You desire to be that friend to them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


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